How to Stop Deer From Destroying Your Landscaping

How to Stop Deer From Eating Your Plants How to Stop Deer From Eating Plants

Over the years one of the questions I have been asked from prospective sellers is how do I stop deer from eating my plants? People ask of course because they want their yard looking its best.

Although they can be beautiful to look at, deer can be surprisingly destructive to your landscape. When you consider how much time and money goes into your landscaping, it only makes sense to do what you can to keep the deer away.

Fortunately, there are proven ways of minimizing the damage deer do to your plants. It may take some trial and error, but you can keep them away and enjoy a more complete and attractive landscape as a result. Below you will find some of the best tips to stop deer from destroying your landscaping and plants!

Providing helpful info on how to prevent deer from eating your plants was inspired by a home I was selling last year in Franklin Massachusetts. The landscaping was always getting eaten by deer while the home was on the market. The owner mentioned to me on a few occasions how he wished he knew how to prevent the deer from ruining the look of his yard.

Real Estate agents are constantly talking all the time about improvements that will increase a homes value with landscaping being one of them. It was easy to understand the client’s frustration with the deer eating all of the hard work they had put into creating a beautiful yard.

Three Most Common Types Of Deer

Before learning how to prevent deer from eating plants, you should know a little bit about the different kinds of deer species. In the U.S. the three most common type of deer are:

White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer can be spotted quite easily when they are running away from you, as their tails will be held high and you can see the white coloration of them. They are the smallest species among the major types of deer. They are most often found from Southern Canada to South America.

Black-Tailed Deer

The black-tailed deer have smaller tails than their white-tailed cousins. Their tails are tipped in black. These type of deer are often referred to as the “Pacific Ghost”. These deer are most often found from Central California to Alaska. Their entire lives are often spent roaming through brush and plantings located in the Pacific Rain Forests.

There are two subspecies of black-tails, the Sitka black-tail (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) of the Alaskan and British Columbia coast, and the more familiar Columbia blacktail (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) occurring from central California north through coastal British Columbia.

Mule Deer

Mule deer are most notable for their size, being much larger than either the white-tailed deer or the black-tailed deer. Their tails are not large, however, and are also tipped in black. While mule deer are indigenous to North America, they are most often found West of the Missouri River.

While they can be beautiful creatures to look at deer can create major havoc with your plants and other landscaping. You may even feel sorry for them in a harsh winter as they look to find a good food source. If you want your land looking it’s best, however, come Spring time, protective measures will be to make that happen.

Verify Deer Behavior In Your Area

To combat the deer in your area effectively, you are going to need an idea of their patterns and behavior. Most importantly, you are going to need to know what they like to eat. You can take a walk around your neighborhood and observe different landscapes and plants. It is pretty easy to spot the ones that deer find tasty, as they will be stripped down and looking much more miserable than the plants that the deer avoid.

Take note of the different plants and how the deer seem to respond to them. One of the easiest ways to avoid deer destruction in your landscape is to plant things they don’t like and to minimize the plantings that they do like.

Talk To Your Local Garden Store About Deer Resistant Plants

When you go to pick out your plants for your landscape, you can ask the local gardening experts what plants the deer tend to avoid in your area. Although deer will eat just about anything if there is enough pressure, such as from predators or weather conditions, they do have their preferences. A local expert can tell you exactly what those are in your area.

Deer do tend to go for new growth, preferring tender plants to tougher materials. Deer also avoid most herbs that are stronger and pungent, such as oregano, chives, lavender, rosemary and thyme. Deer resistant plants include:

  • Elderberry
  • Barberry
  • Oregon Grape
  • Spruce
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Foxglove
  • Rhododendron
  • Iris
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Heather
  • Salal

The list of deer resistant plants is much more extensive than this, but you can see that there are some plants that you can use that will be less likely to be eaten. To achieve the best landscape, you will need to choose plants that will grow well in your area as well, which is why talking to local experts is the easiest way to plan your deer-resistance landscape. Here is an awesome resource of deer resistant plants. This is as complete as a list you will find. Use this as a guide for purchasing landscaping that will keep the deer out of your yard!

Ways To Deter Deer From Your Landscape

Tips to Stop Deer From Destroying LandscapingBelow are eight more tips on how to keep deer from eating your landscaping. Use some or all of these tips to ensure that the deer do not ravage your plants and garden this winter.

Avoid planting too many tasty treats.

The more delicious, ideal deer food you plant, the more you will have to fight them off using various methods. Eliminating deer from your yard is virtually impossible if you are in an area popular with deer, so you will need to make some compromises in what you plant.

Plant the plant’s deer love close to home.

Deer don’t want to get too close to people. By keeping the desirable plants close to the house, you can keep an eye on them and run out if you see them being eaten.

Plant a border of strong smelling perennials.

Deer follow their noses for food, which means you can often trick them using the right plants. If you plant a sufficient amount of strong smelling plants, such as rosemary or lavender, it can throw off the deer’s sense of smell and drive them away from your more desirable plants. For those who love the ease in which perennials continue to bloom year after year, here is a guide to deer resistant perennials. These are great flower choices to keep the deer choosing your yard as their home base.

Make it uncomfortable with thorny foliage.

Deer are tough, but they are still vulnerable to sharp thorns and other unpleasant feeling foliage. If you add plants with these kinds of features near the plants that the deer like to eat, they may avoid them.

Make your delicious plants less visible.

If you make it harder to see your garden using bushes and trees that deer do not eat, the deer might not be as likely to venture into your yard.

Get a scarecrow.

Although you might not like the way it looks, a scarecrow can be effective at keeping deer away. They are naturally timid animals so that a humanoid shape can be off-putting to them. Here is how to make a scarecrow keep deer out of your landscaping.

Fence your landscape in.

If you are willing to invest in a high fence of at least 8 feet or more, you should be able to repel deer from your garden. You will need to make sure there are no vulnerabilities in the barrier, though, with no large gaps where the deer can squeeze through and a height that is tall enough that they cannot jump over.

Consider commercial repellents.

Some commercial deer repellents and tools can be somewhat useful for keeping deer from eating your landscaping. You can purchase a sensor that will spray a sprinkler at the intruders, or you can buy a spray that smells quite bad, which will deter the deer. These may or may not work in your situation, but can be worth trying if other methods fail.

These are some of the best ways of preventing deer from eating plants and destroying the natural look of your landscaping. This Old House has even more advice on how to keep deer from eating your plants. There is some great advice for keeping deer out of your yard!

If you are like me and just hate the thought of winter, you could always pack up and head south where the deer issues are not quite as prevalent! You would, of course, need the best ways on how to sell your house in the winter where there are exceptional tips for selling in this season. Either way, I wish you all the best in keeping these pesky critters out of your yard.

Additional Home Selling and Maintenance Articles Worth A Look

Use these additional resources for keeping up around your home. Whether you are selling now or sometime down the road, a well-maintained home is what many buyers expect. Keep your home value up by following sensible selling and maintenance advice.



About the Author: The above Real Estate information on the how to stop deer from destroying your landscaping was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 28+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

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